Breckenridge Texan

Two Breckenridge teachers honored with Teacher Tribute

Two Breckenridge teachers honored with Teacher Tribute
October 24
11:39 2017

When Breckenridge Junior High School coach and history teacher Donny Funderburg and South Elementary fifth grade reading and writing teacher Kerstin Winge showed up for student assemblies at their schools last Tuesday, they were in for a big surprise.

Both teachers were honored with the Teacher Tribute, presented by Arrow Ford of Abilene, KTXS-TV and KEAN 105.1 FM radio station. This year marks the 20th year the honor has been presented each month to teachers in Abilene and the Big Country.

To be eligible for the award, teachers must be nominated by one of their students. The student submits a hand-written letter explaining why their teacher is special to them and made a positive impact in their lives. The committee then takes the student nominations from around the Big County and selects between two and four teachers for the honor that month. Presentations to the honorees are then made the following month.

Funderburg had no idea he had been nominated for the honor until he showed up at the assembly in L. T. Cook Gym packed with cheering students, along with Abilene radio personality Rudy “Fearless” Fernandez from KEAN 105.1 FM, a camera crew from KTXS-TV and representatives from Arrow Ford. He was nominated for the honor by eighth-grader Casey Jamison.

Winge, at South Elementary, also didn’t know she had been nominated for the honor until she was called up to the stage by Fernandez during a packed assembly in the school’s cafeteria a couple hours later. She said she was shocked and surprised.

She was nominated by fifth-grader Miley Roberts, who said she nominated Winge because she’s a really great teacher.

“She’s really sweet,” Roberts said. “And, she describes things really good and explains them like how I need them.”

“It’s wonderful. I’m surprised, very special. I’m still in shock,” Winge said. “I guess it’s the reason why I get up in the morning and come to work to make a difference in their life.”

Winge, who has been teaching for 12 years, said it was awesome that Roberts chose her over her other teachers at the school because Roberts has some great teachers.

In his letter nominating Funderburg, Jamison said, “Coach Funderburg is special because he will take care of you like you are his own child. I like him because he will protect you and make sure you’re having a good day. He will help you as much as you need it, if you need help with class and if you don’t understand. But coach Funderburg is a really special person to me because he helps me when I need help. And I now like history because of him, and that’s why coach Funderburg is special to me.”

Jamison said it made him proud that the coach was chosen and he got to go up in front of the students in the assembly with the coach.

“I’ve known him for two years,” Jamison said. “Last year I was kind of scared because I didn’t really know him and I wasn’t very good at history. But, since I’ve known him, he’s helped me through a lot, and I trust him.”

“This is amazing, I can’t even imagine,” Funderburg said after being honored. “Even when they were handing me gift cards and things, I’m just going, ‘Holy mackerel.’”

Funderburg said the upside to the award was getting to see Casey every day and see that Casey loves coming to his classroom. He said getting to see him blossom in his classroom was the upside of teaching.

“Teaching is a hard profession from day to day, but when you get a student like Casey who you can really see is learning lessons from you and becoming a great young man, it makes it all worth it,” he said. “The last two years, we were very close. He’s like a son to me.”

For being honored in the Teacher Tribute Program, both Winge and Funderburg received several gifts and gift cards. Each teacher will also be honored in their designated week by the various media partners involved in the program.

During their designated week, each teacher will be featured on KTXS-TV in a 6 p.m. news story and a 30-second commercial that runs during the week, as well as a guest appearance on KTXS during the morning weather. They will also be a featured guest during Wake Up Country on KEAN radio with Fernandez, have their picture along with their story about their inspiration for becoming a teacher appear in American Classifieds and a picture with the winning student and teacher on LAMAR Billboards around Abilene.

Additionally, Winge and Funderburg will receive a $100 check and a new car to drive for two weeks, courtesy of Arrow Ford Dealerships. They also will be honored at a thank you reception in May, where they can enter to win $1,000 grand prize: $500 for their school and $500 for themselves. They also receive a prize from KEAN radio, KTXS-TV, Arrow Ford Dealership, Hispanic Life Magazine, Communities in Schools of the Big Country, and Exceptional Brands.

Roger Ingram, promotion marketing manager for KTXS-TV, said footage shot during the assemblies at the schools will be used in the commercials promoting each of the teachers honored. He said the news segment about Funderburg is tentatively set to air on KTXS-TV at 6 p.m Thursday, Nov. 2, and the commercial featuring footage shot at BJHS will run for a week starting then. The segment on Winge will air on the 6 p.m. news the following Thursday, Nov. 9, and the commercial featuring footage shot at East Elementary will air for a week starting then.

The Teacher Tribute program was started by Arrow Ford in 1998 with KTXS-TV and KEAN radio.

Teacher Tribute honoree Breckenridge Junior High Coach Donny Funderburg and Casey Jamison, the student who nominated him for the award, pose for photo following the award ceremony at L. T. Cook Gym last Tuesday. From left to right are Abilene radio personality Rudy “Fearless” Fernandez with KEAN 105.1 FM; Roger Ingram, promotion marketing manager for KTXS-TV; Casey Jamison; Donny Funderburg; Katherine Parker, director of marketing and advertising for Arrow Ford; Whitney Peters, fleet manager for Arrow Ford; Sierra Lackey, marketing and advertising assistant for Arrow Ford; and Mich Etzel, principal at Breckenridge Junior High School. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Teacher Tribute honoree South Elementary teacher Kerstin Winge and Miley Roberts, the student who nominated her for the award, pose for photo following the award ceremony in the school’s cafeteria last Tuesday. From left to right are Whitney Peters, fleet manager for Arrow Ford; Abilene radio personality Rudy “Fearless” Fernandez, with KEAN 105.1 FM; Miley Roberts; Kerstin Winge; Kenna Rainey, principal South Elementary; Katherine Parker, director of marketing and advertising for Arrow Ford; Sierra Lackey, marketing and advertising assistant for Arrow Ford; and Roger Ingram, promotion marketing manager for KTXS-TV. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

For more photos from each event, see the Kerstin Winge Teacher Tribute photo gallery and the Donny Funderburg Teacher Tribute photo gallery.

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photos: (Left) Breckenridge Junior High School coach and history teacher Donny Funderburg poses with eighth-grader Casey Jamison, who nominated him for the Teacher Tribute award he received during a ceremony at L.T. Cook gym last Tuesday.  (Right) South Elementary teacher Kerstin Winge stands on the stage as fifth-grader Miley Roberts reads the letter she wrote to nominate her for Teacher Tribute honor. The award is presented by Arrow Ford of Abilene, KTXS-TV and KEAN 105.1 FM radio station. This year marks the 20th year the honor has been presented each month to teachers in Abilene and the Big Country. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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